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Comment on Huron and Veltman: Does a Cognitive Approach to Medieval Mode Make Sense?

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Title: Comment on Huron and Veltman: Does a Cognitive Approach to Medieval Mode Make Sense?
Creators: Wiering, Frans
Keywords: analysis
medieval
chant
modality
tonality
cluster analysis
multidimensional scaling
methodology
Issue Date: 2006-01
Publisher: Empirical Musicology Review
Citation: Empirical Musicology Review, v1 n1 (January 2006), 56-60
Abstract: This commentary examines Huron and Veltman’s article from the perspective of historical musicology. The following issues are discussed: • The authors regard modes as conceptual categories of the medieval listener, which seems unlikely on historical and theoretical grounds. • Pitch class profiles are not a good way of capturing the melodic nature of the modes. • The diatonic rather than the chromatic scale should be employed as the reference pitch system for the modes. • The tentative explanation of the transition from modality to tonality ignores the fundamental differences between modes and keys, and the role of polyphony in this supposed transition. The article’s methodology, to apply quantitative methods to problems of historical musicology, is fundamentally sound, and suggestions are made in this commentary as to how its shortcomings can be amended by reformulating research questions and redesigning methods.
ISSN: 1559-5749
Other Identifiers: EMR000004b
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1811/24073
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